Cognitive problems in patients on androgen deprivation therapy: A qualitative pilot study

Lisa M. Wu*, Michael A. Diefenbach, Wayne A. Gordon, Joshua B. Cantor, Monique M. Cherrier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT; also known as hormone therapy) is a well-established treatment for prostate cancer patients with rising prostate-specific antigen levels after localized treatment, and for those with metastatic disease. The neurological impact of ADT has been likened to that of aging and is therefore theorized to impair cognitive functioning in prostate cancer patients. We briefly summarize the research that has examined cognitive functioning of ADT patients primarily through neuropsychological assessment. A qualitative pilot study is presented with the aim of describing ADT patients' experiences of cognitive changes since starting ADT. Materials and methods: Semistructured telephone interviews were undertaken with 11 community-dwelling prostate cancer patients undergoing ADT following definitive localized treatment. Participants were recruited via online prostate cancer support forums. Content analyses were conducted to establish relevant themes, which in this case were the cognitive domains of impairment. Results: Eight of the 11 participants reported impairments in the domains of concentration, information processing, verbal fluency, visual information processing/visuospatial function, memory, and executive dysfunction. Neurobehavioral problems, including neurofatigue and apathy were also reported. Conclusions: The interviews illustrate the potential negative effects of ADT on cognitive and neurobehavioral functions, and their impact on patients' work and in their daily lives. We describe how the field of cognitive rehabilitation offers promising tools to assist ADT patients with cognitive problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1533-1538
Number of pages6
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Androgen deprivation therapy
  • Cognitive function
  • Neurobehavioral function
  • Neuropsychology
  • Oncology
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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